We are closely monitoring the global outbreak of Orthopoxvirus (commonly known as monkeypox). At this time, while still rare, monkeypox has gained significant public health and media attention due to the unusual spread of cases globally. State and federal health officials recently declared monkeypox a public health emergency. 

What you need to know

  • What is monkeypox? It’s an infectious virus that can affect anyone. It’s not considered life-threatening, however it can turn into something more serious, such as pneumonia or infection of the brain.
  • Symptoms: Red, raised skin lesions that look like pimples; painful blisters; fever; aching; headache; other flu-like symptoms. Most people infected with monkeypox will get a rash. (See photos of monkeypox rash). 
  • How does it spread? Monkeypox is contagious and is spread through extended, close, personal contact with an individual who’s actively infected with the virus. This would include, prolonged face-to-face contact, kissing, having sex with or using the same linens as someone who’s infected. During this current outbreak, cases are primarily spreading via sex and other intimate contact. 
  • Is there a vaccine? Yes, there is an FDA-approved vaccine. Bradley University Health Services, OSF, along with other health systems, doesn’t have access to the vaccine. There’s limited supply in the United States, and supply is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health departments. If a student thinks they may be at risk or had an exposure, they should contact Health Services at 309-677-2700 and the student will likely be referred to the Peoria County Health Department.
  • What is the risk for the general population? Even though this is a public health emergency, the risk is still fairly low for the general population. With the declaration of a public health emergency could come more access to vaccines and drug treatments of the virus.
  • How is this different from COVID-19? This virus spreads much differently and is significantly less contagious than COVID-19. To become infected with monkeypox, you’d have to have close contact with someone who’s actively infected. COVID-19 is an airborne virus that can infect many people from a distance very quickly.
  • What is the incubation period? Someone who’s had exposure can become infected for up to two weeks, however they won’t transmit the virus during this time. Typical complete resolution occurs in three weeks.

What can I do to protect myself?  

  • Ask your sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms of monkeypox, such as fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox symptoms and those diagnosed with monkeypox.
  • Don’t share bedding, towels, clothing, utensils, or cups with a person with symptoms of monkeypox.

I’ve been diagnosed with Monkeypox—what now? 

If you have monkeypox, you are advised to stay at home for as long as you have monkeypox symptoms, including until the rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed. Staying away from other people and not sharing things you have touched with others will help prevent the spread of monkeypox. 

Bradley University Health Services will determine and advise you on your ability and ways to leave your home.  To limit exposure, you may be able to perform limited daily activities outside the home with all lesions fully covered and wearing a well-fitting mask.

What should you do if you find out about a case? 

If you are aware of a case, Bradley University faculty, administrators, students, event hosts, and others who are made aware of a positive case, suspected case, or close contact with monkeypox should not make announcements, notify others about the case, and/or cancel classes. Bradley University Health Services will be the point of contact for any medical concerns for the campus community.


Information provided comes from OSF HealthCare, New York University (NYU), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).